Monday, December 10, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Leonard Susskind: black hole wars

If you have 51 minutes, you may want to watch this July 2012 (and possibly much older) talk.

Leonard Susskind is offering a verbal version of the amusing story about black hole wars in which he and Gerard 't Hooft were defending the conservative side against the progressive chap named Stephen Hawking or Evil Karn Evil for short, while chatting in a house owned by a guy obsessed by self-promotion.

Of course, the conservatives were right but even though you know the ultimate spoiler, you may find some cool stuff in the talk.

He starts with the personality description of the heroes, continues with Laplace's non-relativistic picture of a black hole (escape velocity above the speed of light). You will be shown a photograph of the physicists taken without any camera – just with the hand of Susskind who didn't even have to work hard to emulate a kid from the kindergarten.

Be ready for a pond with fish who aren't allowed to exceed the speed of sound. A sonic fishy black hole marketed by Bill Unruh. Jacob Bekenstein's defense of the second law of thermodynamics is the next topic. Hawking's evaporation follows. Only afterwords, you may want to slow down because things that people don't hear too often about are described.

He's throwing George W. Bush (and Condi?) to the black hole which indicates that the talk is a bit older. There were no Canadians because nobody knows of any stupid Canadian politicians, Susskind argued. At 27:00, we hear about the black hole complementarity. He spends some time with whether the complementarity means "and" or "or". It's "or", of course, as your humble correspondence has also stressed many times, and this "or" makes the complementarity an example of Bohr's complementarity, indeed. Too bad that Lenny got brainwashed by Joe Polchinski in Summer 2012.

Add to Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (6) :

reader scooby said...

Evel Knievel not Evil Karn Evil Lubos 8).

reader Phil Jones said...

What did you mean by "Lenny got brainwashed by Joe Polchinski?" - I'm not so familiar with string lore, so haven't heard that story....

reader Dilaton said...

This was such a nice and funny bed-time story, thanks for posting it Lumo :-D

I'd really really like to see a Lenny lecture live someday :-)

For example I like the cute explanations of the no-Cloning theorem in this video.

But at around 23:00, I had much better suggestions of sourballs he could have thrown into a black hole. The ones he actually showed I dont know and the resolution of my screen was not fine grained enough.

Only the again and againg poping up yellow banner sucked.

Maybe Lenny Susskind's books about the black holes (wars) would make a good reading too, I have already seen that Lumo likes these on Amazon :-D


reader Luboš Motl said...

It's not a lore. What happened is that Lenny decided that black hole complementarity can't work, after reading a paper by Polchinski et al., and there must be a firewall at the horizon, see

reader Luboš Motl said...


reader Phil Jones said...

Ah right, thanks, the firewall thing. Papers are still trickling out on that.

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-1828728-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');